Learning > Inspiration

When age is just a number: Computer passion began after semi-retirement

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Chelsea Kiew on 02 Feb 2020

The Straits Times

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Mr Bob Leong, 87, calls himself a "computer tutor" and is the go-to person for his friends when they need help with tech matters.

 

He helps them "break into the digital world" and with tasks including setting up computers and hardware and installing software on their machines.

 

The father of three, who has three grandchildren, says he was not always an IT-savvy person.

 

Mr Leong, who was executive director of the Singapore Furniture Industries Council before he retired, had only a basic knowledge of IT previously.

 

That all changed once he entered semi-retirement at the age of 77.

 

Mr Leong, who started a consultancy company, began to take a greater interest in computers to increase his effectiveness as a business consultant. He read IT books and online resources and signed up for a National Silver Academy course on computer maintenance conducted by the Institute of Technical Education.

 

Now, he loves computers - he often visits IT fairs, uses software to design his own Chinese New Year greeting cards and can even assemble a computer in 15 minutes.

 

"I love computers for the access to information they offer. I love learning new things and computers were something I wanted to learn about," he says with a smile.

 

Inside his terrace house in Ang Mo Kio is a room he affectionately calls his den, which is filled with an array of gadgets, including a Google Home assistant.

 

Mr Leong feels it may be hard for the elderly to pick up new skills, especially regarding technology.

 

He believes many courses are too fast, too infrequent and too theoretical. He also says many courses are not accessible to all his peers, such as those with a limited educational background.

 

His biggest wish is to share his knowledge with others and believes a first step would be by improving the elderly's access to technological education.

 

"You can't expect those (with low literacy) to go to the library. Go to the community clubs and you'll see many elderly men and women. I'm sure many of them would like to learn things," he says.

 

He advises those who wish to learn about computers to be curious. "I want to know everything and I like to learn things."

 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

 

 

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